Seahawks consider drafting QB, but Geno Smith talks ‘positive’

Brady HendersonESPN3 minute reading

The Seattle Seahawks are working to re-sign Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith, but general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said that’s not stopping the team from taking a hard look at this year’s quarterback class.

Schneider on Tuesday described contact conversations with Smith, the 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, as “positive” so far.

It’s no different than any other offseason for an organization that prides itself on leaving no stone unturned when it comes to player acquisition — with the notable caveat that the Seahawks also own the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft via the Russell Wilson trade as their own first-rounder ( No. 20 overall).

“We’re totally committed to the quarterbacks coming out,” Carroll told reporters at the NFL scouting convention in Indianapolis. “This is a very big opportunity for us. It’s a rare opportunity. We’ve been drafting in the 20s for so long; you just don’t get the chance with these guys. So we’re deeply involved in all that.”

The Seahawks haven’t picked in the top five since drafting linebacker Aaron Curry with the No. 4 pick in 2009, the year before Carroll and Schneider arrived. They’ve reached the playoffs 10 times in 13 seasons since, which has meant routinely drafting later in the first round.

“A lot,” Schneider said when asked how much the Seahawks view this year’s quarterback class. “Every year, honestly, we look at it a lot. Like I said earlier, we haven’t picked fifth overall since we’ve been here. So yeah, I came out to see a lot of quarterbacks this year. It was pretty fun. But honestly, every year we’ve tried to do that and we’ve tried to add quarterbacks.”

Smith is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after completing a remarkable career turnaround in which he unexpectedly won Seattle’s starting job and finished in the top 10 in several categories, including first in completion rate and sixth in Total QBR.

Schneider said in a postseason radio interview that he believes a deal will be done, while Smith said at the Pro Bowl last month that the prospects for the two sides reaching a deal “look very good.”

“I would say it’s always a process,” Schneider said Tuesday. “Close? I would say ‘positive.’ is a lot more that goes into these contracts.”

Schneider declined to comment on whether the Seahawks are considering using the $32.416 million franchise tag on Smith, other than to say the tag is a “tool” at teams’ disposal. The Seahawks have used the franchise tag just twice under Carroll and Schneider – on kicker Olindo Mare (2010) and defensive end Frank Clark (2019), who were then traded.

In the same span, they have drafted only two quarterbacks – Wilson (2012, third round) and Alex McGough (2018, seventh round). But sources have told ESPN that the Seahawks were ready to draft Patrick Mahomes in 2017 if he fell to them, and that they called the Cleveland Browns in 2018 to gauge interest in a possible trade of Wilson for the No. 1 overall pick, which Seattle would have applied to Josh Allen.

In addition to picks No. 5 and 20 overall, the Seahawks own an additional second-rounder from Denver and 10 picks overall. Schneider was asked why it might still make sense to draft a quarterback high even if they re-sign Smith.

“Because they don’t grow on trees,” Schneider said. “It’s probably the hardest position to get a talent, a guy that everybody feels very confident about.”

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold and DJ Bien-Aime contributed to this report.

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